Throughout the spring of 2016, TELUS HEALTH INNOVATION conducted a pilot program under the name of “TELUS / FIRSTEP”.  The theme was DIGITAL HEALTH, with a sub-focus on PHARMACOGENOMICS.  There were four measurable objectives:

  1. prove that the process surfaced fresh insights around digital health
  2. test the ability for the process to make a meaningful impact on the companies existing (and hardened) vision and strategy around pharmacogenomics 
  3. prove that the process could generate compelling / actionable opportunities
  4. prove that the process had a positive impact on the company’s brand in the digital health space

Outcome – the process met or exceeded objective in all areas.


FIRSTEP sessions are intense... hours of deep discussions about every single force with the potential to have a material impact on the success of innovators in the space (in this case, Digital Health).  The point of the exercise it to identify disruptive forces that weren’t on the radar, to surface and stress-test previously hidden bias & assumptions, and to get a fresh perspective on which forces matter most, and how they might unfold.  In total, over 400 distinct forces were surfaced in this cohort.  In the ensuing discussion, countless biases & assumptions were surfaced and tested, leading to a fresh perspective for all of the participants, including TELUS Health.  

In addition to ‘force-level’ aha’s, cohort discussions commonly lead to numerous ‘foundational insights’, each significantly broader than any individual force.  Individually, these insights can be quite straightforward, but collectively, they've a profound impact on how TELUS Health now views the digital health space unfolding.   Each of these insights (listed below) are expanded on in the Cohort Insight Book

Individual Health Jobs
Platform Revolution
Platforms NEED Data     
Platforms NEED Behavioral Change     
Data Synergies    
Standard of Care    
Learning Algorithms in HWB     
Silo’d Data    
AI Sandboxes    
Algorithm Compliance     
Value-Based Care     

Health, Wellness & Betterment (H.W.B.) 
Consumer Centric Care
Platform Impact on HWB
Platforms NEED Social
Sensors role in HWB
Personalized Medicine
OMIC Climb    
Feedback loops
Health Data IS Sovereign
Data Landgrab
Reputation Credibility & Access
Measurability (efficacy & ROI)
Reinsurance meets Reimbursement 


The Cohort partner, TELUS Health, achieved all of their objectives, and emerged with a fresh perspective and number of new opportunities for collaboration, innovation & in some cases, potential investment. on their behalf, we thank each of the participating companies for participating in this cohort, and contributing to its success.  

BioGeniq (Montreal) - offer multiple types of genetic tests, matched to curated literature, and actionable recommendations
Cuepath (Vancouver)  - enables families and care professionals to remotely track medication intake of their loved ones

Curatio  (Vancouver)  - Personalized self-management & support programs  

Genelex (Seattle)  - pharmacogenetic testing and clinical decision support analytics

GenXys  (Vancouver)  - pharmacogenetic testing and a medication decision support system

GeneYouIn (Toronto)  - A Canadian genetic testing company

Identos (Toronto)  - Mobile data protection service for Apps in the wild
MetaOptima (Vancouver) - bring digital healthcare and mobile technologies together
Mio (Vancouver)  - heartrate centric wearables and insights
Molecular You  (Vancouver)  - Complete molecular profile for Personalized Medicine
MyBestHelper  (Vancouver)  - Online service helping Families find childcare, home care and elder care
Self Care Catalysts (Toronto) - a patient solutions, intelligence and analytics company
Translational Software  (Seattle)  - empowers physicians to make better decisions using actionable genetic intelligence
YouBase  (US/Switzerland)  - Personal Health Information Exchange Layer (PIXL) using blockchain technology